- Whether renting or buying, the majority of people engage the services of an estate agent and this is the accepted norm in Hong Kong. While in recent years a number of alternative practices have started to emerge, including online advertising, these are generally still in their infancy.
Conducting Your Own Search
You can do a great deal of research on the Internet before engaging the services of an agent. There are a number of websites and publications in Hong Kong that will give you a good overview and an idea of what to expect.
Once you have found a property that interests you, you can then contact the advertising agent and they will subsequently represent you throughout the process as per the process of renting through an agent.
Name Price Day of Publication Property Types Comments South China Morning Post HK$8 Daily, extensive property listings on Saturday Various While a number of properties are listed in the SCMP, the listings are not as comprehensive as those available from the online property websites. HK Magazine Free Weekly, every Friday Limited selection of high, medium- and low-priced rentals This magazine is great for learning more about Hong Kong but the property listings are limited. HotListings Free Monthly Various There is a good range of mid- to high-priced rentals of property listings. The Standard Free Monday – Friday Very limited This newspaper is good for reading about the property environment and developments but not so comprehensive for actually locating a property. Square Foot Hong Kong Magazine Free Twice a month Extensive listings of properties to buy and rent This magazine is a bible for property search in Hong Kong. Gives you much information about home decor, the rental and buyers markets as well.
Online Expat Forums
Name Website Address Property Section Updates Property Types Comments GeoExpat http://www.geoexpat.com/classifieds Daily Various, majority of the range is low- to medium priced Features both agent listings and private listings. AsiaExpat http://hongkong.asiaxpat.com Daily Various, majority of the range is low- to medium-priced Features both agent listings and private listings. Craigslist http://craigslist.hk Daily Wide variety of private listings Majority of properties are private listings.
Online Property Search Engines
Name Website Property Section Updates Property Types Comments Hong Kong Homes http://www.hongkonghomes.com Throughout the day Variety of listings from low-priced to luxury properties. Comprehensive search engine. Majority of advertisements feature pictures and floor plans. All properties are from the same agent. Square Foot http://www.squarefoot.com.hk Throughout the day Large variety from bottom of the market through to the top. Comprehensive property search engine with listings from agents all over Hong Kong. Property Finder http://www.property-finder.hk Throughout the day Listings are mainly limited to Hong Kong Island This site is owned by the island property company and features all its listings. Mank’s Quarters http://www.manksquarters.com Periodically Upmarket one of a kind listings on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon Manks Quarters is the real estate arm of Manks Home purveyors of eclectic and antique Scandinavian furniture. GoHome http://www.gohome.com.hk Throughout the day Variety of listings from low-priced to luxury properties. Comprehensive property search engine, with over 60,000 agent listings and private listings.
Renting Through an Agent
Real estate agents in Hong Kong are as driven and ambitious as real estate agents in other countries. If you are moving with your company to work in Hong Kong, chances are the HR department already has a list of licensed real agents who are usually attached to the biggest real estate agencies for you to work with. The first question a real estate agent will ask you is generally related to the size of your housing allowance (if you are given one as part of your package), and your individual preferences.
You should ideally do your own research before you come to Hong Kong (on your reconnaissance trip if you have the opportunity) and be clear about your requirements before you even meet or speak with a real estate agent.
If you do not have an agent assigned to you from your HR department, you can walk into any agency and ask for assistance. Once you have outlined your needs your chosen agent will most likely arrange to meet at your hotel/serviced apartment and either drive you in his/her car or in a taxi to see the earmarked properties. When you utilize this option the agent will generally remain with you throughout the rental process and you will be charged a fee of two weeks’ rent upon completion of any contract. In his/her role, the agent will take responsibility for ensuring that the property is in an acceptable condition upon handover, will assist you to understand the contract requirements and obligations and will ensure that basic requirements, such as electricity and water supply, are in place prior to the commencement of your rental period. Usually the agent will solely represent you as a buyer unless, and can sometimes be the case, the agent is the sole agent for the property owner. In this scenario, he will be expected to fairly represent both parties.
A word of caution, while you may be tempted to arrange the services of several agents, you may find yourself in the unfortunate position of being charged service fees by more than one agent on the completion of a rental contract. This can happen if more than one agent introduced you to, or showed you around, the same property. At the beginning of your search, you may be asked to sign an agreement with the agent, make sure you only sign one agreement with one agent.
English-speaking Licensed Real Estate Agents
The following are used to dealing with expatriates for both rentals and sales transactions.
Island Property Agency Limited
13/F, Lucky Building, 39 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
Mobile: 6622 5712
Tel : 2155 5113
Fax : 2111 9511
May Loo Wong
Senior Property Consultant
Midland Realty Shop 1704-05
17/F Hopewell Center 183, Queen’s Road East,
Mobile: 6019 5449
Tel: 2588 1818
Fax: 2519 3155
Mobile: 9756 8825
Property Leasing Companies in Hong Kong
Tel: 2915 1551
Tel: 2833 6112
Tel: 2525 8383
Tel: 2869 7221
Yee Tung Property
Tel: 2834 9738
Tel: 2869 9069
Iglu Property Consultants
Tel: 2581 1704
Land & Fortune Realty
Tel: 2111 6008
Tel: 2842 4400
Jones Lang Lasalle
Tel: 2846 5000